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National Digital Health Blueprint

Topics covered:

Issues related to health.

 

National Digital Health Blueprint

 

What to study?

For prelims: NDHB- highlights.

For mains: Need for, significance of NDHB, challenges in health sector and ways to address them.

 

Context: The government has released National Digital Health Blueprint (NDHB) which aims to create National Digital Health Eco-System, in public domain. Health Ministry has sought inputs from various stakeholders on its vision.

 

Highlights of the National Digital Health Blueprint (NDHB):

  1. It lays out the ‘building blocks’ for the implementation of the National Health Stack (NHS), which aims to deploy Artificial Intelligence (AI) in leveraging health records.
  2. Keeping true to the government’s larger agenda, of ‘data as a public good’, the blueprint proposes the linking of multiple databases to generate greater and granular data that can be leveraged by the public as well as private sector – including insurance companies, hospitals, apps and researchers.
  3. The blueprint proposes a National Digital Health Mission “as a purely government organisation with complete functional autonomy adopting some features of some of the existing National Information Utilities like UIDAI and GSTN.”

 

The policy document essentially lays the implementation plan and defines the ‘building blocks’ of the NHS. In doing so, it lays down the following objectives:

  1. To establish national and regional registries to create single source of truthin respect of Clinical Establishments, Healthcare Professionals, Health Workers and Pharmacies.
  2. Creating a system of Personal Health Recordsaccessible to the citizens and to the service providers based on citizen-consent.
  3. Promoting the adoption of open standards by all the actors in the National Digital Health Ecosystem.
  4. Promoting Health Data Analyticsand Medical Research.

 

Concerns:

  1. This National Blueprint illustrates yet another example of the Centre moving forward with a major digitisation program involving the data of millions of citizens without a data protection law in place.
  2. Data security is a prerequisite for any data movement. Currently, data privacy in health is a gray area.
  3. Data researchers and activists have expressed concerns about the development of this policy, which proposes a health data set-up on a foundation of India Stack – a bouquet of privately-owned proprietary software applications.